iOS 4.3 - iOS 4 redux

Those of you hoping to get some information on iOS 5 today are out of luck - you'll probably have to wait for the iPhone 5 announcement before you see the true next-generation iOS. iOS 4.3, which requires the newly released iTunes 10.2, adds some new features to the now-familiar iOS 4 without changing much else.

The first thing you should know about the next iOS update is the list of supported models - Apple lists, in additon to the iPad 2, the original iPad, the iPhone 3GS and 4, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch. Missing from this list are the iPhone 3G and the second-generation iPod Touch, which won't be supported by any iOS update past 4.2.1. The CDMA iPhone 4 is also excluded from the 4.3 list, although Apple hasn't provided any reason as to why it's not included.

This information might sting a bit for owners of these devices, but it certainly isn't surprising. The iPhone 3G missed out on many of iOS 4's banner features - multitasking and home screen wallpapers being chief among these - and performance has been notoriously poor on these older devices, though the 4.1 and 4.2 releases did improve the situation to some degree. It's too bad that Apple can't deliver new software updates to all of its users indefinitely, but it's understandable that they don't want to hamper newer devices' feature sets in order to maintain support for devices with 128MB of RAM and sub-500MHz processors.

Now that you know what devices won't be supported, let's talk about the features that supported devices should see when the new update hits on March 11th.

 

All supported devices should see a tidy increase in JavaScript performance in Safari - Apple claims that its new Nitro JavaScript engine is twice as fast as the old one. It's not a consolation for those hoping for Honeycomb's true tabbed browser, but it should improve the experience for anyone already used to Web browsing in iOS.

AT&T iPhone 4 users will also get the Personal Hotspot feature included on the new Verizon iPhone - contingent on AT&T's support for the feature, they'll be able to share their phone's 3G data connection with up to five wi-fi enabled devices. AT&T's GSM/UMTS network should allow this feature to work even if the phone is being used to make calls, which will be a nice feature for the AT&T faithful.

Next up, users who were discouraged to see the iPad's orientation lock become a practically useless mute switch at the onset of iOS 4 will now have the option to make it an orientation lock once again. There's not much else to say about this one.

The last feature I want to talk about is the one that I'm the most excited about, personally - people will finally be able to stream their iTunes libraries to their iOS devices over their wi-fi networks, just as they've been able to share their libraries with other iTunes users for years now. It may not matter much to users with higher-capacity devices, but this forehead-slappingly simple feature is going to be awesome for me - I can finally access all of the music from my 40+ GB iTunes library on my 16GB iPhone while I'm wandering around the house, and I couldn't be happier about it.

iOS 4.3 further improves iOS 4, but it doesn't really address the underlying problem with iOS - it's becoming a bit dated, and that some of Honeycomb's interface improvements make Android tablets more usable for heavy multitaskers without negating the elegance of an all-touch interface. This is understandable, for now - many Apple users are perfectly happy with iOS 4, so why rock the boat? - but I'd like to see some more drastic changes in iOS 5, especially given how multitasking-oriented the new hardware is.

GarageBand and iMovie - iLife for iPad

One of the most common criticisms of the iPad is that it is designed for media consumption rather than creation - if you want to look at web pages or photos or movies, it's great, but if you're in the business of making any of those things, it leaves something to be desired.

I believe that this problem is endemic to tablets - any device that is mostly screen is going to lose to something that accepts more versatile input devices - but Apple is moving to remedy some of those complaints with new apps based on its iLife suite.

 

iMovie appears to be a relatively full-featured movie editor that can work with movies stored on your iPad or with movies you capture with the device's built-in camera. 

iMovie for iPad supports exporting to YouTube and to iTunes, among other services, and gives you access to a range of transitions and sound effects, to boot. Expect it to deliver a good amount of the Mac version of iMovie's functionality, though you certainly won't be able to replace your MacBook with a tablet just yet.

Most of these statements also apply to the iPad version of GarageBand, a simplified version of the iLife app. The iPad app can record up to 8-tracks from recorded audio, loops, or from the app's simulated instruments (touch versions of a drumset, keyboard, guitar and bass guitar are all represented). As with iMovie, serious users will still want to use the desktop version of GarageBand, but the iOS app goes some way toward making the iPad a more usable prodution device.

 

The Hardware Conclusions
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  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    I'm just wondering why people keep referring to this iPad as "more of the same" when just about everything but the screen was bumped up! And heck, were there not rumors of a "retina display iPad", I think the public would have been very satisfied with this update. Regardless, nothing can really top the original iPad announcement as we had zero expectations about what the device was about. This time, leaks were plentiful, and renders/cases from China were spot on.

    I think what happened is people aren't "wowed" anymore because they know what's coming. That's why Apple tries to be so secretive until announcement day.
    Reply
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    Oh, and iOS announcements are usually in March/April. It wouldn't be a good idea to announce the iPad 2 today, and then also change the UI in iOS 5. That's too many competing messages. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - link

    In case you haven't figured it out, it finally has features we expected from a tablet since day one. Apple does this, all the time, to milk money from its loyal followers.

    And of course it follows the usual irrational design logic of being thinner or smaller in some way. For those who don't understand what that means, look at the ipod nano.
    Reply
  • dagamer34 - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    Before the iPad, no "viable" tablets existed, unless you really want to count Windows tablets from 2002.

    As a gen 1 device, the iPad stands well on it's own. If you felt like they were "holding back on you", no one was forcing you to buy an iPad. Forcing your own expectations onto a device is just wishful thinking.

    And you're the first person I know to complain that being thinner on THIS device was a bad thing. We can discuss how bad the Nano is another time.
    Reply
  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    There have been plenty of Tablets in the past. Lenovo, Dell, HP, Palm, Panasonic.. but I suppose since Almighty Jobs says his is revolutionary..it must be.

    People are disappointed, because like everything apple makes it's already behind the times by the time it comes out..They put the minimal in to make it sell and screw the rest. It's not that anybody feels forced to buy it..it's just the other companies are taking too long to put out a real winner.

    I'm not sure I like the extra thinness either. Lighter wouldn't be a bad thing..but ipad classic has overheating issues as it is, and it's already flimsy enough. Personally I would like to see a slight grip on the back of one of these (similar to the nook). As a flimsy and awkward mobile device it needs to be easier to hold onto.

    And the reason they said it's more of the same is because put minimalistic hardware in and made the thing almost identical to the ancient one. That, and the iOS is just as boring as ever.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    "There have been plenty of Tablets in the past. Lenovo, Dell, HP, Palm, Panasonic.. but I suppose since Almighty Jobs says his is revolutionary..it must be."

    No, the *market* has spoken. PC tablets have flopped time and time again while the iPad is probably the biggest hit in consumer electronics. It sold more units faster than other consumer electronics blockbusters like the Nintendo Wii and the XBox 360. More iPads were sold in one year than 360s were sold in *three*. If that isn't mainstream success then I don't know what is.

    So yeah, those other tablets you mentioned are irrelevant. Even if you don't accept that, other hardware companies seem to since they are scrambling to replicate what was done with the iPad a year ago.
    Reply
  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    Nobody claimed that the businessman wasn't good at advertising. Nobody claimed America is full of smart consumers either..and I don't see a reason to discredit the tablets that Jobs stole his ideas from first.

    If you believe that other companies are "scrambling" and "replicating" the ancient iPad..you have not done your homework. Take a look at who is now in charge of Google's Tablet OS team. Go take a look at Nvidia's boasting tactics and future hardware (they are almost as full of themselves as the leaders at Apple). Have you wondered why the new macbooks are not using the cards from the king in graphics anymore?

    The one thing that Apple did actually bring to the table, is showing the rest of the companies that we are finally in the age where tablets can be popular for simple media consumption for many people. Now that they've done that they can leave.

    Many past tablets have been moderately successful, but not so much used for media consumption..just business.
    Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    No, they are actually scrambling to replicate what the iPad did, which was to pair a mobile OS and SoC with a large screen. Until then, it was all about putting power hungry desktop/notebook operating systems on the necessary hardware to drive it, with low battery life, running applications that were not optimized towards a 100% touchscreen interface.

    It's chasing. And if you believe that it is a 100% media consumption device, you also aren't paying attention. It hasn't even been a year and I've seen a surprising number of iPads get adopted for business use.

    The main thing other companies need to worry about, particularly Google, is software. It is actually more profitable to develop for Windows Phone 7. Android users for whatever reasons do not want to pay for apps. Unless Android users on tablets have different spending habits from Andoird users on phones, how are their tablets supposed to compete in terms of applications and practical usage? The hardware is just a platform, it doesn't mean much without software.
    Reply
  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    Are they replicating the iPad? or the Tablets that the iPad replicated....

    When did I say 100%?
    I know what the iPad is used for, most is media consumption..but no thats not all.

    It is used in businesses where people have replaced their old tablets with the iPad trying to get a new and updated model that works faster than their outdated one..and the Capacitive touch screen (by toshiba & sharp) is also highly useful..however, the reason they got the iPad is not because the iPad is particularly good for business use..but because it was the ONLY one at the time worth any thing.

    I can't tell you how many people I know are planning on getting the Playbook or a honey comb tablet. Most of them are businessmen/women.

    The Xoom isnt great. Cheap LCD screen, Cheap front-facing camera, Cheap buttons, high price, honeycomb still in beta..but that doesn't mean that honeycomb won't be successful on the cheaper, more well built tablets in the future (Eee Pads, etc.)

    It may be more profitable to create for other platforms, but that doesn't stop people from developing for the most open platform..haven't you noticed the skyrocketing number of apps available?

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/07/exclusive-inter...
    Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    I'm sure your hilarity is unintentional, but I must congratulate you. I have just read through this entire comment section because your comments are so amazing. Amazing, because it's a rare pleasure to see someone who has such dedication to expressing the hate they have for a company.

    I can only imagine you were kept in focus by the music streaming to your Cowon J3 (?!?!)

    Allow me to poorly summarize:

    Apple only copied the tablet idea after seeing what other companies had made.

    They were successful where others failed due to great marketing.

    They limit the consumer in all sorts of ways, but the consumer in America is too stupid to figure out that there are better alternatives.

    Businessmen/women are seeking alternatives to the iPad, like the PlayBook and Honeycomb based tablets.

    Developers are choosing the open Android system over the iPad.

    The iPad suffers from a lack of hardware capability.

    You hate Apple.

    Now, allow me to poorly summarize some reality for you:

    Other companies tried to make tablets, but they were miserable failures because the nobody wanted the junk they were making. Others have already explained why. Apple made something that many people want. There are millions of people who really want an iPad, but haven't gotten one yet (they will). There are maybe thousands who really want a Honeycomb tablet or PlayBook. Many more may get them, but usually as misguided Christmas gifts from others (I saw a lot of this with Zune).

    Apple is successful with the tablet because they try to think of what the user might like to do if given the opportunity. They are a user-centric company.

    Users don't care about what you want to do with a tablet. They want a tablet that does things they would like to do, and does them well. They want it to sync easily on a Mac or PC. They want the system to work as expected.

    Businessmen/women want an iPad. Many already have one. The majority wouldn't even consider an alternative. They don't care about any of the things you have mentioned. You don't know many successful businessmen/women. Successful businessmen/women are not going to buy a product that they feel has a high chance of being abandoned or forgotten. This describes the PlayBook. They also don't want a product that feels rough and unpolished if there is an alternative. This describes the Android experience.

    99.99 percent of businessmen/women don't know what the PlayBook is, in this context. 99.9 percent don't know what HoneyComb is. 99.9 percent know what an iPad is. Most would like to have one.

    Developers that want to make money (and know how to do so) will develop for iOS first. They will also develop for Android if they have the resources to do so after they have finished the iOS version. A few sorry souls will try to develop for PlayBook, hoping that by being the only ones doing so they will have less competition and make money. Typically, they will not make money.

    The iPad has all the hardware it needs to make it an incredibly attractive product to billions of people.

    Apple has widely-loved products precisely because they do not cater to people like you. It would be an endless and fruitless chase to worry about satisfying your whims. You have some slight technical ability, and enjoy the fact that you can use that technical ability to overcome annoyances on other platforms to achieve some marginal amount of flexibility as to how your electronics function.

    The vast majority of people don't want a toaster that has a scale to weigh the bread. They want a toaster that fits their bread products, toasts well, and is reliable.

    Most who are far more technically inclined want that exact same thing. When you spend your days fixing things for others or for yourself, it is a blessing to have a device that "just works". Such a device does not expect you to figure out how to make it perform it's functions. It is carefully engineered to make complex things simple.

    One day, you may find some peace in therapy. I hope so, because self-medicating through internet rants is just a mental crutch for a soul with a bum leg.
    Reply

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